Have you considered offering top dressing lawn care services?

Have you ever considered offering top dressing services to your current lawn care customers? It might be a great way to provide them with another annual service to profit from while helping improve the look of their lawns. One member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum decided to test market this service and found a great need for it. You might too.

He wrote “it’s been a very interesting week. Today was the most expensive! One of my local lawn care business competitors just went out of business and had an auction for all his equipment. I bought a Troy Built 3″ Chipper and shredder, a string trimmer, and an assortment of attachments for the trimmer (pole saw, edger, and tiller. I also found the one piece of equipment I had been looking for, for a while now. It is a tow behind drop spreader.

After getting all this new lawn care equipment, I thought of the new services I could offer. One service I had been interesting in offering, top dressing, seems to be one that will work well. So I put an article about lawn top dressing on my blog. Now the reason why I am so excited about having a blog on my lawn care business website is because a member of the city council had been a reader of it and called me for permission to add my article feed to the township website section under home and gardening. When I got the call, I thought about it for a mili-econd and said sure!

From all of this exposure I received 1 response on my blog to the article, but I also received 51 emails from interested people in my area thanks to being posted on the township website! It seems that nobody offers top dressing service here. I also received 29 requests for leaf removal this fall.

From my research, I learned that top dressing  should include two main organic material components. These can be classified as Green organic material and Brown organic material. Green is high in nitrogen and brown is high in carbon. Leaves are considered Brown organic material. Because the soil in my area has such low carbon content, I feel this is an untapped market. I want to offer a high carbon organic material as a top dressing for lawns next spring. I have a reliable manure supplier already set up and have worked out a method to mix the various ingredients for a good top dressing.

I plan on mixing my own top dressing material on my property to build an adequate supply and keep it covered until needed with a plastic tarp. To get started immediately though, I ordered 18 yards from a local supplier and will have it delivered this week. For lawns requiring 4 yards or more, I will have it delivered on site. My cost is going to be $29.80 a yard, I will charge clients $49.00 a yard plus labor.

I want to concentrate on building soil, humus and organic lawn care services and products. I have a tow behind drop spreader (not broadcast spreader) but I probably will most likely at first dump and rake in. This will fill in low spots and be more uniform.

Spring is the best time to top dress in warm climates and Fall is the best time for cold climates. I have seen recomendations for frequencies that range anywhere from once every year to once every 5 years. It’s a slow process to build a lawn over time and quite a labor intensive service.

Before you top dress a lawn, you need to cut the grass very short. Then remove all thatch, rake in your top dressing, rake in seed, roll then spray. I have landscape rakes that attach to my tractors but they do not do as good a job as a hand rake unless the customers’ lawn is uneven or has bumps, then the tractor excels as it levels everything.

I am trying to develope a service process for small population areas that will produce dramatic visual results quickly. Then I want to market a ‘keep up with the Jones’ campaign at a reasonable cost that promotes a quality and value added feeling.

I am sure there are a lot more services I could be offering and you could be too. Keep on the lookout for what your customers need and what services you don’t see others offering. You might find a new niche to push forwards with and make more money.”

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